Senate Democrats warn reported NSA privacy violations only 'the tip of a larger iceberg'

Sens. Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Colo.) and Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (D-Ore.) warned Friday that recent revelations of privacy violations by the National Security Agency (NSA) were “just the tip of a larger iceberg.” 

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On Thursday, The Washington Post published an internal NSA audit and other documents leaked by Edward Snowden that showed the NSA had broken its own privacy rules thousands of times since 2008.

Udall and Wyden, who both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement that the new leak vindicated past claims that “violations of [privacy] laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged.” 

They implied, however, that privacy violations when far further than was revealed Thursday.

“While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today’s press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about the scope and severity of these violations,” they said.

The senators urged the Obama administration to release additional information about the nature of government surveillance and possible violations of the law. 

They also called for greater transparency in the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and for the appointment of a public advocate to contest executive branch claims made before the court. In a press conference last week, President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObamas welcome Olympians to White House Overnight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform Obama pushes to end solitary confinement; states led the way. MORE promised to create such an advocate.